Inconvenient Marriages, or What Happens When Ethnic Minorities Marry Trans-Jurisdictionally According to Their Self-Chosen Norms
Utrecht Law Review, Vol. 6, No. 2, June 2010
Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 47/2010
18 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2010
Date Written: March 19, 2010
This article presents evidence of a trend in British immigration law practice of denying recognition to marriages which take place trans-jurisdictionally across national and continental boundaries and across different state jurisdictions. The article partly draws on evidence gleaned from the writer’s own experience of being instructed as an expert witness to provide opinions of the validity of such marriages, and partly on evidence from reported cases at different levels of the judicial system. The evidence demonstrates that decision making in this area, whether by officials or judges, often takes place in arbitrary ways, arguably to fulfill wider aims of controlling the immigration of certain population groups whose presence in the UK and Europe is increasingly seen as undesirable. However, and quite apart from the immigration control concerns underlying such actions, the field throws up evidence of the kinds of legal insecurity faced by those who solemnize marriages under non-Western legal traditions and calls into question respect for those traditions when they come into contact with Western officialdom.
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